Bugs can help hospitals: Report
Posted Tue, 21 Feb 2012
A medical expert has claimed that organisms which help to control dangerous microbes in hospital wards and operating theatres are being wiped out as a result of the obsession with sterile conditions.
Dr Jack Gilbert, who is leading a global research project aiming to complete a "field guide" of known bugs, believes so-called "friendly" bacteria could help to stem the spread of harmful organisms in hospitals.
He cited the example of nursing icon Florence Nightingale, who championed cleanliness in hospital conditions but also encouraged patients to get plenty of fresh air to aid in their recuperation.
Commenting on the research, Professor Mark Enright, a microbiologist at the University of Bath, said: "I do think that opening windows is a good thing. Air flow is a good thing in hospitals, you don't want pockets where organisms can pool and swarm and pass on."
Prof Enright described the theory that hospitals were too clean as "extreme". He added: "Given the opportunity, any bacterium that gets into the bloodstream and into sterile tissue will invade and cause problems and produce toxins that can kill."
Copyright Press Association 2012